It’s Not All Fun and Games

The Adventure Versa went bye-bye today, like so many other significant things that have vanished. I sold my first guitar, a ’77 Ibanez “lawsuit era” Les Paul. My first acoustic guitar, and Alvarez “Midnight Special” is also gone. I bought the first when I was 16, the second a few months later when I was 17. Also gone: my beloved 1970 Fender Twin Reverb and my bass-amp-to-end-all-bass-amps; a hand picked rig featuring a BBE preamp, and an Eden cabinet that could break windows. Likewise my beloved home theater, built and rebuilt over 15 years probably to the tune of $30k-$40k, also gone for $1100. Hundreds of DVDs containing movies that have marked my heart and soul for my entire life… many special collector items that almost no one besides me even seems to care about, sold for pennies on the dollar…

My lifelong dream to surf lead me to other boards in this landlocked state of Idaho: a great skateboard from my brother I renovated, a Bongo board for indoor training and the crown jewel of them all: My 44″ Arbor Genesis longboard… wait? Why would an Idahoan be into surfing what what does that have to do with skateboards?

I have always wanted to surf since I was a teenager; my heart aches for it. It took until my early 30s for me to get to Waikiki. Once there, my instructor pushed me into my first wave (a mellow 3-4′  rolling wave) on my the first board I ever touched (probably justifiably considered a “kiddie” board – a SofTech foam board)… it was rapture! On my first try I got up and I rode that wave on my n00b foam board and absolutely loved every nanosecond of it! On my best ride that day I covered over a quarter of a mile a la’ Bruce Brown’s Endless Summer. The girl surfing next to me (it was her first time, too) was right with me; the wave broke smooth and flat and just rolled forever… we must have been only 15 feet apart for 15-20 seconds. We gawked at each other unable to believe that such a thing was possible! Real surfers may balk at such romanticism for an unremarkable wave and unremarkable “performance.” But this was our first time ever and we were doing it and it just kept going. We whooped and hollered at each other and, eventually, the wave petered out and we sank in.

That bug bit me. Once I was back in Idaho I got into skating. And the resulting boards (including a river surf board for the Boise River) have all gone away; evaporated in the downsizing. Each of these items goes to some random Craigslist person, never to be seen again. Each a little chunk of me; each a little chunk of my hopes and dreams.

After all the purges I’ve done where I got rid of stuff I didn’t really care about (the three before the Ambling Full Tilt journey), now I’m at the last purge: where I really care about the things that are going away. Yet I’m the one insisting they go away. It’s an odd tension. I can’t have all this stuff with me as we move forward. But now I must purge elements attached to my former hopes and dreams. I currently live in the land where dreams compete against dreams!

It’s tough chasing you dreams. I would love to surf and skate and play music all day long. And to be a race car driver on the weekends (a long story). So what am I doing? Selling everything. The relics of my former dreams are being liquidated to finance this dream: to build a farm with Dani.

Why? I want to write! I can’t not write, even though I’m not even particularly good at it. But if Dani and I can raise veggies, care for chickens (maybe goats), AND get our finances in a row, we won’t have the bills that require being slaves to money that hamper people from doing what they love. We will write! Maybe it will amount to nothing. But maybe it will amount to more than nothing?

Writing is dream one. Music is dream two. Surfing is dream three and racing is dream four. We must make choices that further the pursuit of our dreams. There are no rules. It’s a little heart-rending to sacrifice elements of the lesser dreams for the greater. But we have to move forward somehow.

And now we’re looking to move to Maine to start a farm.

How do you eat an elephant?

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2 thoughts on “It’s Not All Fun and Games

  1. Speaking as one who moved from a comfortable suburban ‘yuppie’ lifestyle in the UK to travelling Europe in a campervan (for 16 years) I can completely understand what you are going through.
    We have never been overly materialistic people, but when we left on our adventure there were some things that we thought we couldn’t bear to part with, yet that would never fit in our van. So we put them into storage. Great idea, yes?
    No!
    Three years later we went back to settle some financial affairs, and decided to get our stuff out of storage. I don’t think there was one thing in there that we wanted or needed – we sold, donated or trashed it all!
    Downsized life teaches you what is really important and what isn’t. It can be hard at first to let go of the stuff you have (the emotional investment can be more important than the financial one), but when you have your new dreams in front of you – a farm with Dani, chickens, goats, veggies – you soon realise that what lies ahead of you is far more important than what you have left behind.
    In our (so called) ‘developed’ world we can never really separate ourselves from a certain amount of financial commitment (taxes, utility bills etc), but by being as self-sufficient as possible we can limit it to a great extent, and learn to stop being slaves to the system.
    Keep on writing Lance – do what you enjoy. Buy the farm, get the chickens (and even the goats). Don’t forget the surfing, guitar and other memories – but treat them as just that – great memories from another life, another time. You are in the process of creating even better memories right now!

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    • Katy, as always, your words are salient, sage and inspiring!

      I, too, once had a storage unit. It did sound like a good idea at the time, but when I moved and cleaned it out I eliminated a lot of it. I decided I didn’t ever want one again. Living in a tiny house will necessitate SOME external storage – two pairs of snowshoes and two sets of backpacking gear, are not something you can just shove under your bed; especially when your mattress is on the floor. Indeed you do learn what is important and what is not…

      “…you soon realise that what lies ahead of you is far more important than what you left behind.”

      I’m still very intimidated about what lies ahead, but I’m very excited for the possibilities and I do think we can do this. What kind of life would it be if we didn’t at least try?

      I hope the sailing adventures treated (are treating?) you both well!

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